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Zygmunt: Bulger is our top priority
By Jim Thomas
Marc Bulger's agent, Tom Condon, spent most of Tuesday morning in a negotiating session here with Jay Zygmunt, the Rams' president of football operations-general manager.
It was the latest in a series of meetings aimed at a contract extension for Bulger, the Rams' Pro Bowl quarterback. Before Tuesday's session, the parties had met at the NFL owners meetings in March in Phoenix, last month in St. Louis and two weeks ago in Los Angeles.
Zygmunt rarely comments on continuing negotiations. When asked about an extension for Bulger on Tuesday, his only reply was: "I just want to reaffirm that it's our No. 1 priority right now. That's really what it is."
Zygmunt declined to divulge any details of the team's contract proposal, but it is believed that the Rams have offered Bulger a contract that would place him among the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league and make him the highest-paid player in Rams franchise history.
Condon did not return phone messages Tuesday from the Post-Dispatch.
Bulger has a year remaining on a front-loaded, four-year, $19.1 million contract. He received $9 million to sign, and last season earned $5,123,000 in base salary. Bulger's base salary is scheduled to drop to $3.95 million this season.
Among the salaries of NFL quarterbacks scheduled to start this season, that $3.95 million is the 11th-highest figure.
Bulger created a stir during a radio interview earlier this month when he wouldn't rule out the possibility of a holdout without a new contract. Bulger subsequently said through a spokesman that the comments were blown out of proportion.
With or without an extension, the Rams expect Bulger to be on hand Thursday when players report to training camp.
"It would be hard for me to see him not out there," coach Scott Linehan said Tuesday. "It's his team. I know he's got to take care of business, and I try to stay out of that side of things.
"But when it comes to the team, I certainly would like the leader of our football team — certainly one of the strongest leaders of our team — to be out there leading the charge from day one."
Other than that, Linehan's biggest concern is that Bulger's contract negotiations don't become a distraction.
"I'm Marc Bulger's biggest fan," Linehan said. "Whether the thing's done before the season, during the season, halfway through the season, it's critical that we figure out a way to make him our quarterback for the next however many years he wants to play.
"But I guess I'm more absorbed in the fact that it's critical to have everybody at camp, and focused on one goal. Then the other things, I think, take care of themselves."
There are financial incentives for Bulger to be in camp on the first day. Unlike an unsigned draft pick or a player with a franchise-tag designation, players under contract can be fined for missing camp. Bulger would be subject to a fine of $14,000 for each missed day of camp.
Re: Zygmunt: Bulger is our top priorityZygmunt declined to divulge any details of the team's contract proposal, but it is believed that the Rams have offered Bulger a contract that would place him among the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league and make him the highest-paid player in Rams franchise history.
Re: Zygmunt: Bulger is our top priority
All I'm saying here is I hope we don't get into the whole (He's not here so lets fine him) situation. That could turn from a financial peeing contest to season ending cancer quickly.
Re: Zygmunt: Bulger is our top priority
This is really encouraging!!!! please Ziggy get this done!!
steve:l"The breakfast Club"
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